Feb 012012
 

 

* YET MORE MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT LIES: RELEASE LOOKS BROAD, NOT NARROW; OTHER STATES SCREWED TO BRIBE CALIFORNIA TO JOIN

By Yves Smith, NakedCapitalism

A number of writers, such as Mike Lux, Bob Kuttner, Matt Taibbi, and Justin Krebs, have been willing to convey the Administration message that the current version of the mortgage settlement is a “much tougher deal” and even a pretty good deal, thanks to Schneiderman’s intervention.

It is important to note that any recent improvement in terms has come at the cost of Schneiderman moving from being decidedly against the settlement to being in the “maybe/maybe not” camp as an apparent part of his decision to join an Administration investigation on mortgage abuses. But as we have stressed, the fact that the Obama team is pushing to wrap up the settlement agreement before the probe underway is a very bad sign. How can you settle when you don’t know the full extent of the bad conduct?

In addition, the change in Schneiderman’s posture has undermined the solidarity of the dissenting attorneys general, which is no doubt what Obama hoped to achieve. […]

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/yet-more-mortgage-settlement-lies-release-looks-broad-not-narrow-other-states-screwed-to-bribe-california-to-join.html

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* MOYERS & COMPANY SHOW 103: HOW POWER AND INFLUENCE HELPED BIG BANKS REWRITE THE RULES OF OUR ECONOMY – VIDEO

By Bill Moyers, Vimeo

Big banks are rewriting the rules of our economy to the exclusive benefit of their own bottom line. But how did our political and financial class shift the benefits of the economy to the very top, while saddling us with greater debt and tearing new holes in the safety net? This weekend on Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers talks with former Citigroup Chairman John Reed and former Senator Byron Dorgan to explore a momentous instance: how the mid-90s merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group  and a friendly Presidential pen — brought down the Glass-Steagall Act, a crucial firewall between banks and investment firms which had protected consumers from financial calamity since the aftermath of the Great Depression. In effect, says Moyers, they put the watchdog to sleep.

VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/35736514

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* BEYOND SOPA: THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF INTERNET CENSORSHIP – VIDEO

By GRTV

In recent weeks the general public has mobilized to face US legislative threats to Internet freedoms. Far from a conclusive victory, however, the death of SOPA and PIPA only highlight the latest in a series of measures that are seeking to create a legal framework for government-administered Internet censorship.

VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8uO9bw1TNw&feature=player_embedded

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* ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FOOD SAFETY CZAR’S OUSTER

By Samantha Bonar, LA Weekly

Occupy cornfields! Support is growing for a petition calling for the ouster of Michael Taylor, a senior adviser for the FDA who formerly served as vice president of Monsanto, the controversial agricultural multinational at the forefront of genetically modified foods, the Washington Post reports. President Obama took a lot of flak when he appointed Taylor to the position three years ago. As the second highest-ranking official at the FDA, Taylor is responsible for implementing the day-to-day policies that govern food safety laws in the U.S.

Tipping off the current anti-Taylor campaign is his alleged practice of going after small raw-milk producers, including the Amish, while letting large factory farms responsible for huge food-borne illness outbreaks go scot-free. As an example, activists cite the fact that Iowa agribusinessman Jack DeCoster — who was responsible for the more than 500 million salmonella-tainted eggs that were recalled in 2010 — has not been fined or arrested by the FDA, while Amish dairy farmers have been subjected to yearlong stings and hauled away in handcuffs.

While at Monsanto, Taylor oversaw the policy of the company’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST). Milk from injected cows has been a controversial topic, with many medical organizations and hospitals speaking out against it. Monsanto also has been the focus of dozens of protests for a number of its other policies over the years, most of them targeting its crops that are genetically modified to be disease- and pest-resistant. “Naturally occurring plant and animal species are permanently threatened by the introduction of DNA and hormonal modification, Monsanto’s core businesses,” the petition on Signon.org reads. […]

READ @ http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2012/01/michael_taylor_fda_petition.php

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* TOUGHER THAN WISCONSIN: ARIZONA REPUBLICANS LAUNCH ‘ ALL OUT ASSAULT’ ON PUBLIC UNIONS

By Nick R. Martin, TPM

With a sweeping series of bills introduced Monday night in the state Senate, Republicans in Arizona hoped to make Wisconsin’s battle against public unions last year look like a lightweight sparring match.

The bills include a total ban on collective bargaining for Arizona’s public employees, including at the city and county levels. The move would outpace even the tough bargaining restrictions enacted in Wisconsin in 2011 that led to massive union protests and a Democratic effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“At first glance, it looks like an all out assault on the right of workers to organize,” Senate Minority Leader David Schapira (D) told TPM on Tuesday. “And to me, that’s a serious problem.”

The bills were crafted with the help of the Goldwater Institute, a powerful conservative think tank in Phoenix that flew Walker to the state for an event in November. Nick Dranias, director of the institute’s Center for Constitutional Government, told TPM he sees Walker as a “hero” but that Wisconsin’s laws were “modest” compared to Arizona’s measures. […]

READ @ http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/tougher_than_wisconsin_arizona_republicans_launch.php?ref=fpb

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* SUBURBAN PROPS

Source: Second City Cop

We can totally believe this of Rahm and the GMac crew. First, Channel 7 has this:

  • Police chiefs from dozens of surrounding communities met at the Chicago Police Department headquarters today, but none of them wanted to talk about the meeting.

And why wouldn’t they want to talk? A commentator has an idea:

  • Talked to a boss at a suburban Department. He was not happy with the Chicago Police Department. OK. That was a huge understatement. He is PISSED!It seems that Chicago called a bunch of top bosses from other departments to 35th street for a big informational meeting on the G8. Top secret information, need to know stuff, except, they didn’t tell them anything that wasn’t in the papers.

    The Chiefs were then paraded past the Channel 7 cameras that were “tipped off” about the “secret meeting” the suburban Departments were called to. Since Channel 7 is in the bag for Chicago, you didn’t have to be a Chief to figure out you had been used as a prop. Are we getting that desperate already? Way to piss off our suburban brothers with that transparent nonsense.

[…]

READ @ http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/02/suburban-props.html

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* DEVASTATING OBAMA MEMOS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Source: The Young Turks, youtube.com

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BJDfzoh9-rA

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* THE OBAMA MEMOS

The making of a post-post-partisan Presidency

By Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker

OOn a frigid January evening in 2009, a week before his Inauguration, Barack Obama had dinner at the home of George Will, the Washington Post columnist, who had assembled a number of right-leaning journalists to meet the President-elect. Accepting such an invitation was a gesture on Obama’s part that signalled his desire to project an image of himself as a post-ideological politician, a Chicago Democrat eager to forge alliances with conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill. That week, Obama was still working on an Inaugural Address that would call for “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

Obama sprang coatless from his limousine and headed up the steps of Will’s yellow clapboard house. He was greeted by Will, Michael Barone, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Lawrence Kudlow, Rich Lowry, and Peggy Noonan. They were Reaganites all, yet some had paid tribute to Obama during the campaign. Lowry, who is the editor of the National Review, called Obama “the only presidential candidate from either party about whom there is a palpable excitement.” Krauthammer, an intellectual and ornery voice on Fox News and in the pages of the Washington Post, had written that Obama would be “a president with the political intelligence of a Bill Clinton harnessed to the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir Putin,” who would “bestride the political stage as largely as did Reagan.” And Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and a former aide to Dan Quayle, wrote, “I look forward to Obama’s inauguration with a surprising degree of hope and good cheer.” […]

READ @ http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lizza?currentPage=all

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* AMERICANS ELECT: THE FIRST NATIONAL ONLINE PRIMARY – VIDEO

Source: youtube.com / http://www.americanselect.org/

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CuYKHnAVJ-Y

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* THE THIRD-PARTY RAIL

As the donkey battles the elephant, some say: There’s got to be a better way.

By John Hellemann, NYMagazine

A few hours before the GOP presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I ran into a political tourist roaming the debate site—a fellow by the name of Kahlil Byrd, who, despite calling himself a Republican, is in every other way the walking, talking antithesis of the race-baiting, base-inflaming spectacle that unfolded on the stage that night. First, Byrd is (wait for it) black.

Second, he is too composed and sane to leap to his feet and applaud Newt Gingrich’s mau-mauing of Juan Williams. Third, it’s not just Newt among the ­Republicans for whom Byrd has no love; he has made it his mission to defeat whomever the GOP picks as its standard-bearer. But Byrd is no closet Democrat, rooting for Barack Obama. Instead, he’s on a crusade to undermine both parties and, in the process, change ­American politics forever.

Byrd is the CEO of an outfit called Americans Elect, which you may have heard about already—but, if you haven’t, you soon will. Started, supported, and advised by an array of heavy-hitting politicos and moneymen, Americans Elect aims to launch a credible independent presidential candidacy in 2012. To that end, the group has spent millions to gain ballot access in all 50 states and build the technology to host an online nominating convention open to anyone with a valid I.D. and an Internet connection. In June, after successive rounds of voting, the process will render a unity ticket, its top and bottom slots filled by candidates of different political affiliations, intended to smash the reigning partisan duopoly and seize the vital center. […]

READ @ http://nymag.com/print/?/news/politics/powergrid/americans-elect-2012-1/

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* A VERY STUPID (AND DANGEROUS) SUGGESTION

Source: greekcorrespondence

I woke up and read the news this morning with alarm. It seems that the German government, not the most popular institution in Greece at present by a long shot, is circulating a document amongst European ministers suggesting that a “budget commissioner” takes over the financial management of Greece, as the Greeks, even under a technocratic government, has been unable to make progress in reducing the deficit significantly.

This is so stupid, and so dangerous, it almost makes me gasp with disbelief. But it also underlines the wide gap of comprehension between Northern Europe and Greece. At what point will Greece be willing to let the country be run by anyone else apart from Greeks? This is not a democratic deficit, this is a coup from the top down. More worryingly, this will also be seen as an occupying force by most Greeks, and will be met with such opposition that the recent demonstrations will look like a Sunday at the beach. […]

READ @ http://greekcorrespondence.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/a-very-stupid-and-dangerous-suggestion/

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* SANCTIONS V. NEGOTIATIONS ON IRAN

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

[…] But we have now a great irony: America’s increasingly tense and dangerous conflict with Iran is characterized (one could even say caused) by the unwillingness of the Obama administration to engage meaningfully with Iran’s leaders. After a few early, symbolic gestures, it has been the administration’s refusal to pursue the most fruitful path for resolving the various disputes between the two nations — namely, direct negotiations and diplomacy — that is most responsible for the stand-off. As preeminent Iran expert Vali Nasr — the former Obama State Department advisor and current Tufts University Professor of International Politics — brilliantly explains in this six-minute interview, one I urge everyone to listen to, this anti-negotiating stance has rendered an escalating sanctions regime the only available course short of war, one that is highly unlikely, Nasr argues, to resolve the dispute, but instead is far more likely to lead to war (unintended or otherwise, especially in an election year). Just please listen to Nasr’s argument and make your own assessment: […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2012/01/31/sanctions_v_negotiations_on_iran/singleton/

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